Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos – 2012
Domaine Laroche owns 1.12 hectares (2.77 acres) of the 25.81 hectares (63.78 acres) of Les Clos grand cru vineyard. Les Clos is located straight in front of the village of Chablis at an elevation of 139 to 166 meters (456 to 545 feet) with a southern exposure. This favorable sunny exposure allows the grapes to achieve excellent ripeness.
- Definition: This vineyard was once completely surrounded by a stone wall, hence the name “Les Clos,” meaning “enclosure” or “walled vineyard” in Burgundy. Monks from the influential Abbey of Saint Martin at Tours planted vines here in the ninth century.
- Viticulture: One man, one plot: There are more than 30 people who are dedicated to caring for the 90-plus hectares (222.39 acres) of Domaine Laroche vineyards, with each person responsible for only one plot. This tailor-made approach allows them to manage the vineyards with precision, speed and accuracy. Everyone at Domaine Laroche practices “lutte raisonnée,” or “reasoned protection,” (using chemical intervention only when required): The vineyard is plowed to aerate the soil and encourage development of the root system, as well as the organic life in the soil. Vines are pruned and trained by hand, with a strict pruning and debudding regimen. Leaf plucking occurs to aerate the canopy and avoid the development of botrytis, while trellising aerates the grapes and provides them with favorable exposure.
- Vine Age: Planted 1969, 1987
- Clones: Sélection massale
- Soil: Les Clos’ well-draining soil means that water retention in the vineyard is quite low, causing the grapes to be concentrated in both aroma and acidity.
- Density: 5,880 vines/hectare (2,380 vines/acre)
The appellation, usually a slow-ripening one, benefited from an extraordinary end-of-summer: Blue skies, sunny and dry conditions, light winds and cold nights...all the elements required for a complete and perfect ripening of Chardonnay grapes. The condition of the grapes — which were less abundant than in 2011 due to coulure and millerandage — was perfect, enabling the development of impeccable aromas. This vintage of cold maturation, which implies neither heat excess nor heaviness, has developed elegant, aromatic, well-balanced and generously mineral wines.
- Harvest Date(s): October 1; manual harvest; hand-sorted at the winery
- Yields: 40 hl/ha (2.96 tons/acre)
Pressing: Whole bunches in a pneumatic press, then 12 hours settling at 12 to 15°C (53° to 59°F) in specially designed wide tanks that accelerate the natural settling process
- Fermentation: 3 weeks (50% stainless steel, 50% French oak)
- Malolactic: 100%
- Aging: 6 months (50% stainless steel, 50% French oak); the first blending between tanks and casks is done in stainless-steel tanks; the wine is then aged on fine lees for an additional 6 months
- Filtration: Minimum filtration to preserve the maximum natural character of the wine
- Bottled: Under low pressure on a bottling line designed to protect the wine
- Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
- Production (in cases): 1,250 cases
- Production Case Pack: 6/750ml
- Alcohol: 13%
Appearance: Clear, bright limpid yellow
Aroma: The influence of the exceptional terroir is apparent in this wine’s pure mineral character and the intensity of the aromas.
Taste: Restrained at first, this grand cru offers finesse, complexity and superb length.
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos – 2012 – Domaine Laroche: A Pioneering Spirit in the Heart of Chablis – The SOMM Journal
"The Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos is vibrant and complex, with sultry layers of ripe apple, pear and citrus laced by white flowers and powdered chalk."
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos – 2012 – 96 points – Wine Enthusiast
"This wine has weight, structure and richness. Spice comes from wood aging while the texture is concentrated and dense. It’s powerful, full of apple and crisp pear flavors that are tight and firm."
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos – 2012 – 93 points – Wine Spectator
“Well-defined aromas and flavors of apple, peach, honey and spice stay harmonious and long in this precise white. This has flesh to balance the structure, with a fine, mouthwatering aftertaste.”
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos – 2012 – 93 points, Year’s Best White Burgundy – Wine & Spirits
“This 2012 is dark and smoky, contrasting that youthful, earthy intesity with pale notes of cream and fresh-cut apple. It finishes with beautiful clarity of fruit, invigorating in its persistence.”